Officially a Blue Devil

The biggest thing I have learned from my first year of college is how to learn and teach myself. In my situation, I am thousands of miles away from my home and family. When you run into a stumbling block there is no time to get depressed and look around for help. I am on my own now; it’s up to me to seek resources and use my own intelligence to come up with the answers. One thing I have also learned is that college is a lot about understanding yourself. Understanding your specific style of learning, and understanding how to manage your time accordingly. For example during my fall semester I was taking 18 hours and I was on the track team. Balancing a full load and coming home from practice worn out was draining. As a result my biology grade was not up to par and I eventually dropped it. Now that I am in summer school taking two classes, including Biology, I have realized what my down fall was. The teacher I had in the fall was boring and taught solely with lectures. At the time I was ignorant to the fact that it was my responsibility to go home and teach myself. Coincidentally, I have the same teacher for summer school now. This time I am prepared; although he is a boring teacher he presents the information and I go home and read the whole chapter again. After reading the chapter I look up YouTube videos to help with my understanding. I have always had high expectations for myself and I believe that’s part of the reason I’ve got so far. Now that I’m in college I have set my bar even higher; not living up to my full potential is not an option. I’m shooting for the stars; and by that I mean if I shoot for a 4.0, at the least I should have a 3.5 and land on the clouds.

Our campus is small at Dillard University; but I definitely realized how everyone looks out for each other. When your goals are set and you are aiming for high expectations, people realize that and they help out where they can. Now that I am in summer school and the incoming freshmen have come, I’ve noticed myself doing the same thing. When I make it to the top I want to look around and see those I started with. My school is really like a community because everybody knows each other. In a sense, it helps you stay on top of your game. If you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do everyone will know. Not saying I’m worried about what others think but it’s no point of me flying miles away from home and spending all this money to not handle business.

-Courtney, Dillard University, Class of 2016

First Part of the Race Completed

Throughout my first year of college, I learned several lessons. I would have to say that the most important lessons were the academic ones. The difference in the difficulty level from high school to college is quite noticeable, especially when transitioning into the fast-paced quarter system. At first, I believed that my studying habits were under control, but I was soon overwhelmed by my first quarter chemistry class. Since I didn’t get the grade I wanted, I reflected on my mistakes and decided to put in a greater effort in my future classes. I also realized that class syllabi are extremely useful because professors clearly let students know what is expected from them. In addition, I didn’t go to office hours during high school, but that totally changed this year. Teacher’s assistants are usually quite helpful, and they are valuable resources that are available most of the time. Last but not least, it was nearly impossible for me to study in the dorms since I tended to procrastinate by socializing. As for studying in my room, that was usually a bad idea because I just wanted to play online games or take naps. Luckily, UC Davis is huge and there are several comfortable places to study.

I admit that I was a bit arrogant after graduating high school. The reason being that my GPA was relatively high and I owed it to my superb individual studying skills. As a result, I was reluctant to participate in study groups and socialize with other people in general. I came to realize, though, that it was fairly easy meeting other people and establishing connections. Ironically, I also performed better on exams when I studied with friends. The concept behind this is rather simple. It’s different from thinking you know something, and explaining it to someone without using notes/books. If someone cannot articulate concepts into words, chances are that they do not fully understand the material. This was something that I loved about college. As the saying goes, I killed two birds with one stone- made friends and acquired better studying habits.

I don’t know much about my community back at home but in Davis, there are several interesting clubs and organizations that specialize in different areas. The best part is that there are both academic and personal interest clubs. Next quarter, I will join JASS (Japanese American Student Society). I took Japanese classes my freshmen year of college, and I might as well join JASS. As for my sophomore year, I probably won’t join a fraternity, but I do plan on being more active within my community. Some community service activities are fun, such as planting trees on campus. Overall, I really enjoyed my first year of college, and I am looking to my second year of college even more.

-Miguel, UC Davis, Class of 2016

First Year Down

I learned many things while completing my first year at UC Davis, some good and some not so good. My first year of college was quite different from others’ first year since I did not take on the experience of living on campus. Yet I got a great experience that I will never forget. I met wonderful loving people that became close friends. The greatest takeaway from my first year of college was learning that I should prioritize my education more than anything. There are things like parties, bad influences, and fun times, but you cannot let those things interfere with your goals. I learned that I have potential since I made it through my first year, but yet I have a lot more to learn and give. I learned that classes could be quite hard and will make you hit rock bottom but you cannot give up. I also learned study skills that allowed me to progress and do a lot better. I learned the hard way that I should not take many difficult classes all at once. Overall I learned how to be a college student and mix in with all the “smart” people.

I learned that my community at home and the community of my college are very different, if not opposites when juxtaposed. I did not see one act of violence or serious crime in the time being at UC Davis. I learned that the community of Davis is really nice and treat each other with respect, often times. On campus I received many smiles and happy greetings, this allowed me to be a happier person when I came back home. My first year of college was definitely tough, but it was nowhere near impossible. There are times when you feel like giving up, but overall the experience and the benefit received from working hard defeats that. I learned that your family is something that keeps you motivated and is a big incentive for you to keep working hard. I couldn’t have done it without my family’s support and the support coming from others. I was expected to fail in my first year of college, but that was not part of my plans whatsoever. Now I have to await a new year that is full of more improvements and new wonderful experiences.

-Eduardo, UC Davis, Class of 2016

Journey through a New Life

My Freshmen year at UC Davis finally came to an end. It was a very exciting but tiring experience. Throughout the course of a year, I feel like I learned much more than I did in four years of high school.

College life was much more challenging than I expected. At first, I was blown away by the immense freedom I had in college. At first, I wasted the majority of my time doing unproductive stuff. But throughout the course of the year, I managed to develop a structural daily schedule to stay productive.  I realized that college isn’t like high school; if I don’t prepare ahead, I will fall behind.

Separated from my parents, I finally got to learn how it feels to be independent. Having my own credit card and bank account, I learned how to properly manage my money and spend accordingly with given funds. I learned how to use local used book stores or Facebook groups to find cheaper alternatives.

Still, I think the greatest takeaway I got from College is my future goal. Through my college experience, I was able to figure out what I want to do for my future. Through random GE courses I took during my second quarter, I decided that I want to major in Civil Engineering. Although being an Engineering major sounds hard and cumbersome, I plan to try my best to become one.

One thing I’m proud of myself for is that I managed to come home every single weekend to help out my dad in church and Korean School. Although it was very tiring and time consuming, I kept my promise throughout the year. Helping my community in college took much more time and sacrifice, but I’m glad I kept my promise to the end.

While I still have more to learn, I believe my second year in college will definitely be better than my first.

-Jin, UC Davis, Class of 2016

First Year of College Completed

After completing my first year in college I can say I have learned a lot during my first year in college. I learned a lot by taking different courses that were interesting to me as well as how to manage my time. I was able to learn about my academic interests by taking classes that I thought were interesting and was able to learn about different subjects in my first year of college.  I think that the classes offered in college are great ways to explore career possibilities especially with the introduction classes offered during your first year of school.

College helps you learn new things about yourself as well. For example, you might learn the ideal study habits for yourself as a student. Everyone has different study habits that they prefer so that they can perform at their best. You might like to study in a group so you join a study group with some classmates in order to make the most out of your studying. Other students might prefer to work in the library because it offers them a quiet space where they can complete their studying without any distractions. For the most part, it depends on the student and their study habits that determine the preferred ways they study.

By attending college, you also get to learn about the community you live in. You get to explore your surrounding environment and learn about the different features your campus has to offer. For example I learned about my school’s mascot called banana slugs in Santa Cruz and how the best time to actually spot a banana slug is in the spring quarter. Going to college allows you not only to learn about your academics, but also about your community on campus as well as your surrounding environment.

-Alejandro, UC Santa Cruz, Class of 2016

The End of my Freshman Year

One of the greatest things I learned at UC Davis was to seek help whenever I did not understand something. Looking back at Fall quarter, if I would have used all the academic resources that UC Davis offered, my grades would have been better. In my first year of college, I learned to take responsibility for my personal and academic life. It was very tough not having teachers and my parents there to guide every step of the way, but this helped me grow as a person and I become very independent. Independence is one of the greatest things I acquired through my first year of college. Moving out of my house and going to  college has made me  strong, independent and the dreamer I am today.

In the first year at Davis I had the opportunity to volunteer at an elementary school and help kids improve their math and science through the MAST program. It was pleasure to see how involved the parents were in their children’s academic growth.  I find it important that parents are involved in their children’s schools because it give the kids a positive reassurance that their parents care about their academics. The kids were very smart and college oriented, although they were just first and second graders. Many of the wanted to attend UC Davis and were fascinated when I told them I was attending their dream school. They would always ask me questions and I was more than glad to answer.

Attending UC Davis and being exposed to a different environment was one of the greatest decisions I’ve made in my life,  since it has made me grow as a person. Although  my first quarter at Davis was tough and challenging it made me see life through a new perspective. I’m so lucky to have been admitted to Davis and take interesting educational courses which made experience things that I  will take with me for the rest of my life. I am proud to call myself a UC Davis Aggie. In my first year of college I’ve learned that  through hard work one can reach their dreams. Now I’m just waiting to build more experiences and get my bachelors degree  in sociology. With my degree and experience as a  first generation college student, I want to motivate others to attend college and to keep dreaming.

-Ana, UC Davis

My First Year

My first year in college was a journey unlike any other. It was filled with many difficult moments, but also memories that will follow me for a lifetime. I met some amazing people and experienced a new part of me that I did not know existed. I learned that procrastinating is possibly the single worst thing any college student can do. It is the main reason why people fall behind and why so many students feel overwhelmed. I realized that in college, everything is left up to you. No one is there to push you to get things done, teachers will not give you extensions on assignments, and the school will not call home when you do not show up for class; it all depends on your own personal will. College is just a small taste of what the real world is once you leave home. My first year taught me that nothing gets easier once you graduate high school, but that the outcomes of your struggles are even greater than before. I learned to enjoy my life day by day, and to appreciate every little thing even more. This last year I learned that I am capable of achieving more than I originally thought. I pushed myself to limits I did not know I could reach, and still managed to come out on top and be successful. I learned that all limits are simply what you make them out to be. When it comes to my campus I learned that my school offers numerous amount of help for students, and that the setting of my campus is absolutely perfect. We are located in a major city and only moments away from the state capital, but also secluded enough so that the typically city life does not take a toll on student life. The close proximity to the city also allows for students to participate in internships in the city while living on campus as well. Over all I feel absolutely positive with my choice in school. The community that surrounds the campus is absolutely amazing and compliments the atmosphere of the college perfectly. The best advice I can give anyone is to pick a school based on your personality and your preference on proximity to a big city.

First Year of College

My first year of college has been an incredible experience. It had its up and downs but all in all it was a great year full of wonderful memories. I have learned so much also. The biggest take away from this year is the family I have gained at Linfield. I grew incredibly close to my softball team and all their families, along with my coaches and they have proved to be a great support system while I am so far from home. I have continued to learn the value of a team and how important it is to be able to work as a team.

In the past year, I have learned the value of time management and the importance of staying focused. That can be difficult in college, with so many activities going on around you. You have to remember the reason you at school is to get an education, and all the rest of it comes second.  Paying for college myself is something that has been a challenge but I have simply tried my very best to make it work. It has caused me to value my education even more and I have also learned to make every moment count. Capitalize on every opportunity and make this college experience something to remember for a lifetime.

Oregon is such a welcoming, friendly environment compared to California. Everywhere you go, people say hello and go out of their way to help you. I’m not saying California is a bad place with bad people, but Oregonians are just friendlier. It was a very easy transition when I first went to Oregon and it has become a home away from home. I see myself possibly staying in Oregon after I graduate. I could not have imagined going to any other school but Linfield. Since it was so small, the experience I had there was much different than it would have been if I had gone to a UC or state school. All my professors knew me well and on a personal level. They were all so eager to help me succeed and the liberal arts education I am getting is well worth the large price tag.

New Chapter of Life

Fall of 2012 is where it all began, new adventures, new people and new experiences. I experienced many achievements as well as failures, but never did I give up.  As my first year of college proceeded, I learned to organize myself. Organization was a struggle for me, not only was I procrastinating but I also getting sick and going to the ER was taking time away from getting my stuff done. I was a struggle but the skill of organization took place and helped me contact my professors and get back on track in order to achieve my goals.

Something I learned about myself was that I did not know I had the potential to cope with a transition like this.  That makes me believe that I can and am capable of overcoming anything if I set my mind to it, such as helping my community.  In my community I learned that we need to care more about others. I have volunteered at a Senior Retirement home and that they are very lonely people. Their family members do not visit them often or at all.  Something that I noticed was that the elderly did enjoy our visits and very much appreciate it. Everyone deserves to feel cared for and loved and what better way than to offer your care and love to others.

This first year has been great and I am so grateful to have been involved with my community and to just be making great memories that will be told throughout my adulthood. There is nothing better than a good feeling of achieving and giving to others, I believe we need to gain in order to give and that is what this year consisted of. And now I am looking forward to an amazing second  year at Holy Names University.


When people think of Oakland, they think of a city with a never ending plague of violence. Living in Oakland, I learned that it was much more than that. Although some people weigh the bad over the good, Oakland also has a beautiful, rich culture lurking in every different corner, and people full of life, hope, and fight. Going to school at Mills College has helped me learn more about myself, the place I’ve lived my entire life (the Bay Area), and the world in whole.

At the beginning of the year, every student living on campus received a Clipper card for use on AC Transit an unlimited number of times. Mills does this to encourage students to leave campus and learn more about the area they’re in, and really take in the cultural diversity and activities that are dispersed around the Bay Area. I remember I use to be very hesitant to take the bus, but after getting use to a certain route, I grew more comfortable. The bus was a great resource to learn more about the community because they went around the different parts of Oakland that I’ve never seen before. Interacting with the people here also made me realize that it’s silly to condemn an entire city when most of its parts included good food, good culture, and good people. These people were no longer willing to sit in the shadows and were now ready to fight for the glory of their city, and the safety of their friends and family. As a volunteer at Highland Hospital, I’ve also learned more about the people in this community. Highland hospital was basically a safety net for the shortcomings of the governments’ health reform laws, and provided for people beyond what they could sometimes provide. I chose to volunteer at this specific hospital because I truly believed in what they were doing, which was aiding people of all ages, races, and backgrounds regardless of whether or not they had the means of pay.

Of incredibly large amount of things I’ve learned and picked-up, I’ve got to say that the most important to me was that I’ve learned to budget my time more graciously, and I’ve become a more compassionate, free-willed, and free-thinking person. Although it may seem stereotypical for me to feel this way because I’m going to a woman’s college, I’ve developed into a feminist. Mills has taught me to open my eyes in the directions I’ve been scared to look at, and really think about what everything means for everyone. Mills has taught me to think.